There’s always been one question that’s often on my mind.
What does it all mean?
It’s such a vast question that’s almost impossible to answer. We generally try to avoid it because it would leave us feeling overwhelmed. Well, that didn’t stop me.
It all started in high school, where we had to choose where we went to college. Suddenly, the thought of going into the big wide world and making adult-like decisions was terrifying.
Everyone said that you need to go to a good school, get a degree to get a decent-paying job.
Then I thought, what’s the point? Is that what life is about? To follow everybody else?
The truth is, half us don’t even know what we want. We just look at our peers and follow the conventional paths that were taken before us.
Just like everybody else, I followed what was expected of me. But all I felt was a deep void, a feeling of emptiness. I fell into a deep, dark depression. My motivation dipped and my energy levels dropped. I asked myself, what is the meaning of living, if not love, ecstasy, indulgence?
Every ounce of bliss or joy that I had experienced was short-lived. I found myself becoming dependent on things and people that I thought would make me happy, but it never worked out for me in the long term.
My depression got so bad to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed. I found this in one of my diary entries:
All of this time I spent trying to ignore the pain, and suppress it with quick bursts of bliss, of recklessness. I remember the feeling of drowning… I remember when all I could see was darkness.
These feelings continued throughout my university years, and I continued to ask myself the same question, but when I came across a book called Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, it sparked a radical change in me.
Healing Depression & Finding Meaning
The more I read about Daoism, the more I felt a sense of inner peace.
Daoism takes the concept of polarities and sees the interconnected relationship between them. For instance, there is no light without darkness, nor success without failure. Happiness is nonexistent without suffering. Everything good and bad is a necessary part of living. As human beings, we are meant to experience these polarities.
Since I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the ocean. Its water source is infinite, inexhaustible and vast. Rivers and ponds always somehow replenish themselves.
What if there’s something infinite and vast in ourselves?
The truth is, we are all connected. We are a fundamental part that connects to life and to the whole universe. The trees and the ocean are an inseparable part of who we are, just like our lungs and our limbs. We wouldn’t survive without them.
Just like nature, we are the very manifestations of life itself. The physical body is structured to function by itself, like our heart beating, our liver and organs, or our breathing — everything that is needed for your existence to manifest itself is happening on its own.
The very source of life is functioning and happening within you.
The Meaning Of Living
The meaning of life is to live it. Yet, we somehow get it wrong. Life happens us, instead of us. You will see that everything actually happens in our favor. The ups and downs make us who we are, and in hindsight, without the struggles and the setbacks, we wouldn’t have succeeded or become happier.
If you feel lost, then amazing. Now is the time to discover what your interests are, and always know that you’re allowed to make mistakes — it makes the journey a bit more exciting. And no matter what decisions we make or the paths we take, we somehow always end up in the right place.
‘Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.’ — Alan Watts
Originally published at https://chloelingmason.com on January 7, 2020.